RANGELEY – June through October, if you drive the Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway (RLNSB) on the weekends, stopping into the overlooks, you’ll likely meet a Byway Ambassador. Created in 2021, the program is sponsored by the Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust (RLHT) to connect the community to conservation in a unique way.
The 52-mile byway winds through over 60,000 acres of conserved public access lands offering scenic beauty and multi-season recreational opportunities, much of it stewarded by RLHT. The RLNSB starts at the Nancy A. Perlson Scenic Turnout in Madrid on Route 4, passes the Smalls Falls Rest Area following the Sandy River valley before dropping into the villages of Rangeley and Oquossoc, then winding over Height of Land before ending in Byron.
“A few years ago, I was at Height of Land, and I overheard conversations about hiking trails, campgrounds, and questions about the view. I had to speak up.” said Amanda Laliberte, Program Director for the RLHT. “I walked away realizing that there was an entire group of people who love RLHT’s conservation work but will never visit our headquarters and knowing there was an opportunity there to build community.”
The RLNSB ties together the unique experiences awaiting visitors to the Rangeley Lakes Region while meandering thousands of acres of conserved lands. Ambassadors staff the Height of Land, Whip Willow Farm, and Quill Hill Scenic Overlooks during high-volume hours to help visitors make the most of their time in Rangeley.
In its third year, Ambassadors reached more visitors than in 2022. They spoke with 3,463 individuals, making over 12,870 recommendations to 122 regional businesses, recreational opportunities, and events. Ambassador recommendations increased by 86% from 2022.
“Through a brief conversation, the ambassadors make pointed recommendations for the visitor’s time in Rangeley. They recommend trails, shops, restaurants, and experiences. They also explain the landscape and answer questions,” stated Laliberte. “Our ambassadors live and play here. They love sharing their knowledge with our visitors and watching them fall in love with Rangeley. Often times we’re sharing places they didn’t know existed.”
This year’s Byway Ambassadors were Jen Atwood, Kevin Cyr, Sharon Cyr, Deb Ferrara, Jim Ferrara, Sarah Fredrick, Ashley Greene, Tena Holan, Jill Kelly, Kathy McGuinness, Eva McMillan, Nick Sampson, Scott Schoenthaler, Sylvia Tetu, Tim Tetu, Allen Wicken, and Sandy Wilbur.
RLHT would especially like to thank Jim Ferrara for coordinating the Byway Ambassador program since its inception.
Top 20 Byway Recommendations in 2023
1 Quill Hill Scenic Overlook
2 Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway
3 Smalls Falls Scenic Turnout
4 RLHT Lands & Trails
5 Moose Sightseeing
6 Coos Canyon
7 Bigelow Fields Bison Farm
8 Furbish Brew House & Eats
9 Sarges Pub & Grub
10 Angel Falls
11 Outdoor Heritage Museum
12 Portage Tap House
13 Parkside & Main
14 Bald Mountain
15 Appalachian Trail
16 Moose Alley
17 Maine Forestry Museum
18 Saddleback Maine
19 Oquossoc Grocery
20 Loon Lodge
Learn more about experiences along the byway at RangeleyByway.com.